Longtime Baycrest employee fosters the arts
A new program at North York’s Baycrest Health Sciences is using visual arts to help patients with dementia and their caregivers create more meaningful connections.
Melissa Talfer has been working at Baycrest since 1999 as a clinical social worker, but five years ago, she moved into a role that incorporates the arts into health care.
“I have always been curious about the role the arts has on patient and caregiver support,” said Talfer.
Talfer came together with a number multidisciplinary teams at Baycrest, including social workers and an artist who leads the activities. Every week patients participate in an art class while their spouses take part in a caregiver support group. The couples reunite at the end of the session to work together on various art projects.
“Through this program, [the couples] are working together as two learners. The dynamic is different than when [the spouses are] in their traditional caregiver role.”
The first run of the 10-week program ended in January with an art installation, called A Road To Connection, which showcased the art made by the participants. As the program continues, data will be collected and analysed.